Online Etiquette 101

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From Hollywood Connections PR account executive, Ashely Swanda, on the Dos and Don’ts of online etiquette…

Social Media And Email Etiquette 101: Don’t Commit Career Suicide

Social Media has become a mainstay in our lives. Many of us are on Facebook or LinkedIn several times a day, and we send so many emails we don’t even bother to count anymore. The instant access and communication is a blessing, but used it the wrong way and it will become a black flag that follows you to every job and lingers in all facets of your life.

Much has been said about how to handle social media and faux pas to avoid, but it seems it needs to be reiterated over and over again. Communication expert and coach Roshini Rajkumar can minimize the risk of career suicide with these helpful hints in social media etiquette. Below are just a few of her tips.

A simple checklist to follow before you hit send on all Social Media outlets (emails, blogs, FB posts and Twitter):

  • Proof your post or email—two or three times. Grammatical errors and typos are so easy to fix, and when you post content with typos, you’re sending a message about yourself, the wrong message.
  • Have a purpose for the message you’re sending or posting. Make sure your post is to the point and clear. If you can’t follow it, how do you expect your followers to? Be short, be precise and be smart.
  • Auto addressing.  Your computer will happily fill in the email address when you start typing, but just the same way you don’t want anyone finishing your sentences for you, be sure to double check who your computer wants to send the email to.
  • Look at your distribution list for emails. DO NOT “reply all” if your question or response is only for one person or worse, it contains confidential information or negative information that should not be shared.  On that note, you can not control what someone else may or may not do with your email so if you don’t want the information shared, be sure to indicate that when you send it out.
  • Respect the privacy of others and the confidentiality of their communication to you. Do not forward emails you receive from others without getting the author’s permission.
  • Ask yourself: Would you say it this exact way if you were looking the person in the eye?
  • This is especially true with e-mail communication. Taken out of context many e-mails and posts can be misconstrued. Example; sarcasm is often very hard to interpret over the internet.
  • For social media posts, creativity may mean you wouldn’t say it the same way, but you can still ask yourself if there is courtesy and professionalism in what you’re writing.
  • For blogs and comments to any social media remember just because you “can” post, doesn’t mean you should; think about that and then proceed.
  • Remember, once your post is on the Internet, it is fair game for anyone to see (even if you have made it “private”). It may not go viral immediately, but the Internet is vast and it is eternal so someday, someone may scroll across your post. And it will most likely occur at the most inconvenient time.
  • Emoticons are fun but overused, and are never professional. Avoid using emoticons and try to keep emotions out of online correspondence.
  • Avoid using “text talk” online and in social media, and for that matter in texts.  Speak in complete words and sentences.  It avoids miscommunication and commands more respect.
  • Many falsely assume they’re anonymous when posting on blogs; NOTHING on the Internet is completely anonymous.
  • Think about your reputation and the reputation of your business. Would you want your boss to see your post? Would customers still consider working with you if they saw those pictures? There is a reason for the cliché, “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.”
  • Brandbuilding-Facebook, Linked In and Twitter are effective outlets to build your personal and professional brand, but only if you do it right.  Due to the fact that your personal and professional worlds may merge in those arenas, it’s best to always keep your professional goals and desired image in mind when posting.

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